Week 2 at Ecovillage Training, the Findhorn Foundation, Scotland

Our second week of EVT has also been incredibly intense, with the feeling that the week has lasted a month yet passed in a heartbeat. It was filled with laughter, passion, awe, and experience.

The theme of this week has been “Fair Share” and so we have focussed on alternative currencies, community projects, community supported agriculture, and local food production. The whole group visited Cullerne Garden for a tour on Monday afternoon, and returned for our work placements on Tuesday afternoon. Dave spent the whole afternoon shovelling horse dung. A truly grounding experience!

We got to see permaculture in action at Craig’s house. His property looks untidy, but it is really a beautiful self seeding edible landscape. His chickens scratch up the dirt and Craig hardly ever digs or weeds because he uses mulching instead. And in the morning when we wants eggs and vegetables, he just steps outside, steps over the chicken poo, and picks a fresh egg and what ever greens are in season.

Cullerne is an organic garden, and the whole of Findhorn Village and the Park are built on sand dunes. Much compost and manure spreading is done, to keep life in the soil. They call Cullerne a market garden, and grow most of the Foundation’s leafy greens there. Most of the other vegetables are grown by EarthShare, which we visited on Wednesday.

EarthShare is a community supported agriculture project. Once part of the Foundation, it is now a separate organisation. They grow food for roughly two hundred boxes of food (to feed 3-4 people each) per week; about two thirds of this food is bought by the Foundation to feed the members.

So the group potted up chives, “riddled” potatoes, dug jerusalem artichokes, and lugged 25Kg bags of seed potatoes around! After that, the owners of the next farm over gave us tea, some of their delicious cheese, and a wonderful talk on the difficulties of being organic farmers. Thank you so much, Pam and Nick of Wester Lawrenceton Farm – you were a huge inspiration to the group.

Perhaps the highlight of the week was Thursday afternoon, where the entire group cooked dinner for the community at large – 32 of us in a kitchen generally used by 8. It was an afternoon of chaos, creativity, a couple of burned fingers, lots of flavour… and lots and lots of love. The outcome was fantastic – in this “hungry gap” before the spring produce is available, the community loves the diverse meal laid on by EVT every year. My bulging belly was a testament to how good the food was. Though, of course, it did raise issues – how lucky and blessed we are to have such plenty when others go without.

Every meal here is blessed before it is eaten, and it isn’t just a token gesture – the people blessing the food really were thinking of those with less than ourselves. It is so sad to know that world food production could feed the human population, but that due to… well, let’s just call it “the system,” many are hungry.

As well as all of the above, we have had two birthdays in the group this week – many happy returns, Diego and Biz! Diego is leaving the group too, which is very sad – safe trip back to Brazil!

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